The cinematic year had barely begun before Hollywood and the entertainment industry came to a virtual standstill over COVID-19. The mass closure of movie theaters made it next to impossible for moviegoers to experience any of the great films that had come out or that had been previously scheduled for release over the last few months—indeed, even with more theaters opening up, the only major release currently on the schedule is Tenet, the latest film from director Christopher Nolan, currently slated for July 17.
This disruption, unfortunately, hit the films that were just gaining traction the hardest. Released a few weeks prior to the mass shutdowns instituted to help slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Leigh Whannell’s latest horror thriller The Invisible Man was a lamentable casualty to the entertainment shutdown. If you missed it in theaters or during its VOD run earlier this year, you’ve got a new chance with the release of the film on Blu-ray for 4K HD today.
A remake of one of the unsung favorites of the classic Universal Monsters lineup, The Invisible Man is a shocking and terrifying new vision of horror that continues the latest trend of socially conscious thrillers working their way into our nightmares. It also represents a stunning new vision of what Universal’s long desired reboot of their classic monsters could be, in the right hands.
After the disastrous debut of The Mummy, the film intended to kickstart Universal’s Dark Universe, the thought that the studio could relaunch these classic monsters was seen as an impossibility. Whannell, who wrote and directed the film, managed it, however, and breathed new life into Universal’s desires to bring these monsters back to the big screen. It’s also, for whatever it’s worth in 2020, one of the best movies released so far this year.
In a disruption of the status quo of the Universal Monsters and The Invisible Man, Whannell chooses to focus his film not on the titular monster but, rather, on his victim, in this case Cecilia Kass (Elizabeth Moss). In doing this, the new film is able to explore deeper themes of the effects of power and psychosis not on the perpetrator but on those whom they torment.
The original film from 1933, which starred Claude Rains in the title role, was a film that explored the corruption of power as we watch an otherwise decent fellow succumb to feelings of invincibility. Though still effective today, the modern twist allows for an entirely new thematic rendering that makes The Invisible Man a monster suitable for today’s world.
Cecilia, having recently escaped from a years-long abusive relationship with Adrian (Oliver-Jackson Cohen), finds herself suddenly reprieved from her trauma when news of her ex’s death reaches her. On top of that, she’s also set to inherit a substantial sum of money from his estate. Thinking her fears are over, she begins to try and rebuild her life and move forward. Soon, however, she finds herself at the center of some strange occurrences that lead her to believe that Adrian might not actually be dead.
Whannell has created a parable for the #metoo era, using his film to explore the long term effects of abusive relationships and to show us what emotional abuse looks like. In a very real sense, victims of long term emotional abuse do feel as though their tormentors are invisible. Abusers tend to be affable and charming in public; it’s only behind closed doors, when the world can’t see them, that their true selves begin to show.
With a rather literal interpretation of that fact, Whannell (and Moss, who added additional dialogue for authenticity) have created a stunning horror film that deserves its place in the canon of the classic Universal Monsters. With the new home video release, we can also go deeper into the world and learn more about the steps taken to build it.
The home release comes with hours of extras including deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage, and featurettes that give us new insights into the creation of The Invisible Man. It also includes feature length commentary from Whannell that gives us even more information about that film that will, hopefully, finally serve the properly reboot the classic monsters for the modern world.
Whether renting or purchasing, The Invisible Man is an absolute must see for horror fans or just movie fans in general. It’s another reminder of what horror can do with to address the issues facing us today. It’s certainly deserving a place on your shelf but, barring that, it’s more than worth the two hours of your time.
The Invisible Man is now available to own on Blu-ray and 4K HD.
See our original review here.